The China Evergrande Centre in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong, China, on Monday, September 20 2021. Picture:: KYLE LAM/BLOOMBERG
The China Evergrande Centre in the Wan Chai area of Hong Kong, China, on Monday, September 20 2021. Picture:: KYLE LAM/BLOOMBERG

China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis is unlikely to become China’s “Lehman moment”, according to strategists at Citigroup, Barclays and UBS.

Barclays argues the market environment isn’t similar to what happened during the collapse of Lehman Brothers, UBS says the default levels are pretty low vs the size of China’s economy and Citi expects the policymakers to step in.

“The conditions are simply not in place for even a large default to be China’s Lehman moment,” Barclays macro strategists including New York-based Ajay Rajadhyaksha wrote in a note on Monday. One would need to see a sharp increase in credit distress away from the real-estate sector, banks unwilling to face each other and huge policy mistakes for that to happen, they wrote.

Growing investor angst about Evergrande and a crackdown on China’s real-estate sector have caused a chain reaction across global risk assets this week, even ensnaring stocks with less tangible links to China. S&P Global Ratings warned on Monday that the distressed developer is likely to default if doesn’t get support from Chinese government.

Alishia Seckam discussed the Evergrande crisis with senior market analyst, Craig Erlam.

“Policymakers will likely uphold the bottom line of preventing systematic risk to buy time for resolving the debt risk, and push forward marginal easing for the overall credit environment,” Citi analysts including Judy Zhang wrote in a note. Still, some banks may become victims, they noted.

Citi’s analysis of banks’ loan exposure to high-risk developers suggest credit risk is the highest for China Minsheng Banking, Ping An Bank and China Everbright Bank.

Meanwhile, Bank of Nanjing, Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank and Postal Savings Bank of China are less vulnerable and “we would see any dip as an enhanced opportunity to buy quality names,” the analysts wrote.

Jefferies also sees “little chance of systemic risk” from Evergrande and advises investors to buy bank stocks on dips. It added Postal Savings Bank’s mainland shares to her top picks, citing the lender’s profit outlook and lower exposure to property sector. Jefferies other buy-rated stocks include China Construction Bank and Bank of Ningbo, analyst Shujin Chen wrote in a note. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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